Lamu, KENYA: Police officers escorting passenger buses in Lamu on Wednesday evening foiled an attack launched by suspected al shabaab militants on a bus that was heading to Kipini area from Malindi at Nyongoro area along the Lamu-Garsen highway.
The bus christened Kipini Raha, is a sister bus to the Mombasa Raha one and had aboard more than 50 passengers when the incident took place.
Three people are feared dead in the attack following a fire exchange that ensued from the militants at bus and later with police officers escorting buses on the route.
While confirming the incident,newly appointed Linda Boni Operation boss Joseph Kanyiri denied that anyone had died in the attack and said only four people were shot and injured in the incident.
He said the four had been taken to the Witu dispensary for treatment.
According to Kanyiri,the attackers began shooting randomly at the bus from the bushes and were aiming at the tyres with intent to burst them before carrying out their usual massacres.
He says the police patrol was swift enough and was able to detect the attack and the officers promptly swung into action and engaged the militants whose number remains unknown,who later fled back into the bushes after they were overpowered by the police.
The driver of the vehicle is said to have kept moving even after most of the rear side tyres became punctured.
Kanyiri also dismissed witness reports that three boda boda operators who were caught up in the melee as they went about their business succumbed to the terror bullets.
“Yes am aware that a Kipini Raha bus was attacked by suspected Al-Shabaab militants at Nyongoro area just a few kilometers past Lango la Simba. The bus was shot at severally but the driver didn’t stop. Security officers in a vehicle that was escorting the bus promptly intervened and a fire exchange ensued. The officers however managed to overpower the attackers who fled into the bushes. Four passengers were injured in the attack and have been admitted at Witu Dispensary.No one died that I know of. I will give details later,” said Kanyiri.
Most of those injured have gunshot wounds to the legs,shoulders and others have bullets lodged in their behind.
One of those killed is a high school student who was heading home for school holidays.
Kanyiri however said enough officers had been deployed to man the situation and pursue the suspected militants.
He said security patrols along the route especially in areas considered terror hot spots have been intensified.
This comes weeks after Coast regional coordinator Nelson Marwa threatened to withdraw licenses of vehicles that ply the route without armed police escort.
Marwa said all vehicles coming into and out of Lamu must be accompanied by armed police escort and warned that drivers who don’t adhere to the directive not only risk their lives but also those of passengers and other road users.
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